Assembly announces cuts to EMA – Young people must fight back!

Students with blue EMA banner - "No cuts to EMA!" By Neil Moore, Youth Fight for Jobs & Education

The cuts jointly proposed by Ministers Stephen Farry (Alliance Party) and John O’Dowd (Sinn Féin) today would see 4,000 young people lose the payment entirely. We can be sure that, if this cut is allowed to pass, the politicians will come back with more attacks in the near future. For many students, EMA is decisive in allowing them to remain in education. These cuts would drive more young people into the dole queues, when almost one in four 16-24 year-olds are already unemployed, thanks to the disastrous austerity policies of the Assembly Executive.
Once again, we see whose side the Stormont politicians are on. They plan to cut a small allowance for students – which, as it stands, costs a meagre £29 million – while they ring-fence over £10 billion to finance rip-off PFI privatisation schemes and campaign for huge tax cuts for big business. This is just part of their agenda of making ordinary people pay for the crisis created by the bankers and speculators.

It is disgraceful that Adrianne Peltz of NUS-USI has welcomed the cuts to EMA proposed by Minister Farry today. That is a betrayal of the interests of the very people she is meant to represent. The leadership of NUS-USI has prevented any discussion on the issue within the students’ movement. They met with Ministers Farry and O’Dowd and proposed alternative cuts to EMA without any mandate. We call on them to immediately withdraw their support for the cuts and instead join with us to build a fightback to defend EMA. Otherwise, they will be left behind.”

Youth Fight for Jobs & Education are organising meetings across Northern Ireland in Belfast, Enniskillen & Derry to bring students together and discuss how to resist these cuts. This is not the first time the Assembly politicians have moved to cut EMA. A campaign of protests and occupations which began in December 2010 and united Protestant and Catholic young people forced them to back down. If we stand together in determined opposition, we can do the same again!


Previous Article

Brutal force used on peaceful anti-Property Tax protesters

Next Article

Optimism at Davos based on reality?

Related Posts
Read More

Leisure centres should be for people, not profit

From the beginning of 2015, leisure centres formerly managed by Belfast City Council have been outsourced to Greenwich Leisure Limited. Although GLL is registered as a charitable social enterprise and claims to reinvest its surplus back into service provision, the company is winning an ever increasing number of contracts by slashing wages, staffing and training while paying its directors exorbitantly.  
Read More

Education: No return until it’s safe

The recent announcement by Peter Weir, the NI Education Minister, that all pupils are set to return to school in September full-time will bring mixed feelings for parents and teachers alike, who no doubt will have serious concerns over safety. In order to facilitate this, Weir also announced that previously planned social distancing guidelines would be relaxed.

Read More

Why I Joined the Socialist Party

From a young age, I was brought up with the sense of an ‘other’. Protestants were different, and that’s why we avoided their areas, why we went to different schools and why there was conflict. I accepted this as ‘just the way it is’. However, as I grew up, I made friends from the Protestant community and what I found was a collective viewpoint that the division between Catholics and Protestants is totally futile.